I spent all last weekend attending the Tactical Urban sustainment course out at DARC. It's a course designed around the idea of a prepared individual or group in the face of a major catastrophe. Large hurricane, emp, whatever event leading to a without law type situation. We arrived on site at 8 am on Friday and didn't leave the location until 5 pm on monday. You were learning something the entire time, some of that was classroom instruction, a lot of it was applying what you learned across their facility against an few individuals playing as an opposing force.
Here are some of the questions I've gotten and I wanted to post the q&a here as well. If you have additional questions let me know and I will try to answer them from my experience.
Q: most shocking/eye opening takeaway
A: How fast heat kills you. This class is in Arkansas, and we were in 110 degree heat index days. Spending long periods of time in the heat lead to several people having heat related injuries. In this case we all just went into an air conditioned room to help them recover. If I was in a natural disaster without power that wouldn't be an option. We also had to obtain and purify all of our own water. Just the amount of sweat and dehydration caused from collecting and purifying water was sooo much more than I realized.
Q: Do you feel like the stress (or lack of sleep) was detrimental to your ability to learn?
A: Slightly, but having to deal with the lack of of sleep was also one of the largest lessons of the class. We talked about 3 main areas to think about
Mindset ( your willingness to do something)
Skillset ( your ability or knowledge to do something)
toolset (having tools to do something)
The outdoor lack of sleep situation drove home the toolset on what was preventing you from sleeping (insects probably) that you might want to address long term. It also showed the importance of community and skillsets. How much sleep do you get a night when it's you and one other person pulling security? What if there are 7 of you? I'm also a firm believer that being able to fall asleep when uncomfortable is a skillset I need to work on.
The largest thing the lack of sleep taught us was mindset. One of our instructors called this "phase line F--- it." Do you have the grit you need to keep doing what you need to be doing when you are hot, tired, and stressed out, or are you just going to say "f--- it" and give up. The lack of sleep was probably one of my largest "teachers" of the weekend.
Q: Gear breakdown list?
A: I am going to have to break that out as it could be a post on it's own. I will say my gear wasn't extravagant by any means (other than nods). I ran my $60 modified taps rig I've ran for about a year, and I used my $80 camelbak mountain bike bag for my assault pack. I did have a gregory baltoro ruck, bug net, food, water purification, rain gear, thermal layer, and some other odds and ends, but nothing crazy. They do provide a packing list as part of signing up.
I hope to do some photos and maybe a video on this if there is enough interest.
Q: Who was the coolest person there
A: There were a lot of really cool people I met over the weekend. Several well known names from the community acted as instructors throughout the course like veil solutions and adam from spiritus. Everyone I met over the weekend seemed like a cool person and I hope to keep in touch with them all.
Q: biggest piece of gear you saw was detrimental or gear you wish you had
A: I started seriously overpacked, and I didn't have a good way to nest my assault pack inside of my ruck at the beginning. This led to a ton of extra weight, and some huge bulk and balance issues when I just strapped a heavyish bag on another heavy bag. Bug nets were also the MVP of the weekend for everyone. I've never had more hatred for mosquitoes in my life
Q: Can you go to tusc with minimalist gear? Some of us out here don't have nvg, gas mask, etc.
A: I think overall most of my gear is pretty budget. The big exception here is the night vision. The class kind of never stops, which means a large portion of the class happens at night. It's hard to go on a night patrol, or pull security at night effectively without nods. If you plan on attending the course, I would at a minimum plan on renting a set of nvgs for the weekend. We had 2 students without nods and both of them wished they had them by the end of the weekend. I never needed a gas mask, nor do I currently own one.
Q: What good solutions did you see for assault pack attached to/inside main ruck?
A: The best option for me was to clear out the space inside my main ruck so I could nest it inside. Once I made room for it, it ran much better. Several people were also running either the spiritus LBE or the velocity jungle rig as sort of a "day pack" and they all seemed to like that layout.
Q:What filtration systems worked best with the swamp water?
A:The most important thing was a good prefiter. I brought a bunch of pool sock filters as my prefilter and those worked pretty well. Then we ran it through a sawyer and also used chemical tabs. Water was a huge challenge throughout the whole weekend and I will be putting a lot of focus around how to better manage a water plan long term.
Q: how do you fight ticks without modern technology
A: Bug nets were probably the most important thing I had all weekend. I also pretreated all of my clothes.
Q: what were some noteworthy morale boosts?
A: Doing stuff as a group and working as a team throughout the whole weekend. Everyone there had a similar mindset and goals so everyone got along.
That's all I've got for now. If anyone else has questions let me know